Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock | Thomas Hooker Brewing Company

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Thomas Hooker Liberator DoppelbockThomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock
697 Ratings
Thomas Hooker Liberator DoppelbockThomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock

Brewed by:
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Connecticut, United States

Style: Doppelbock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hopped with German and Czech hops and fermented with Bavarian lager yeast, this traditional doppelbock blends an extensive amount of select dark malts to achieve its rich and creamy character. Rich and filling, this brew is a malt lovers dream.

24 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-15-2004

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 697 |  Reviews: 510
Photo of B967ierhunter177
1.24/5  rDev -70.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This beer pours a very dark brown with no head or lacing. It's aroma is of coffee and burnt toast with a hint of anise. The flavor is coffee with notes of black licorice and cough syrup. There is a long lasting dark roasted malt aftertaste. The mouthfeel is thick and syrup-like. Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock is a bit of a disappointment. Not recommended.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
1.91/5  rDev -54.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

A: Thomas Hooker has a bad rep with me. Poor carbonation in all of their swing tops. I have given them my last chance. This beer poured flat as Hell like very other beer I have had from them.

S: Some fruits, caramel, and musty

T: Flat and old caramel, dark fruits which were masked by the cardboard flavor. Drain our.

M: Flat, no carbonation, syrupy, no taste

D: Dont waste your money on this crap.

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Photo of chrispoint
2/5  rDev -52.4%

Photo of amphion1065
2.07/5  rDev -50.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Vintage unknown, but this was purchased in June 2011.

Pours a dark brown, bordering on deep ruby. A light tan head recedes very quickly, leaving minimal lacing behind.

A lot more fruit in the nose than I expected. Plums and other dark fruits, similar to a BSDA actually. Some roasted malts and coffee notes, but the fruit really sticks out.

Very, very tart and sour enough to be off-putting. The plums from the nose are totally overshadowed by sour cherries. The deep bready malts I expected from this beer are there, but the pungent sourness entirely overwhelms them. A slight alcohol note, too.

Very thin mouthfeel, almost watery with not nearly enough carbonation.

Though I'm not sure whether or not I got a bad bottle, I can say with certainty that this was a chore to drink. Unpalatable.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.34/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Brown pour, red undercurrents, dense, sediment afloatin' around, doesn't look super impressive, head or lace. Aroma was a big turnoff, just massive amounts of alcohol and rough mixture of wood and water seal, with a lesser degree of caramel and toffee to it.

Again, the taste was licorice, prunes, just stuff I don't like, much less in my beer. No hops. Can't call this smooth, it has such an alcohol presence, just a rough experience. Really not anything I'd like to experience again, especialy at this cost.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.47/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Mostly brown liquid, some aspect of deep red running to the edge of the glass. Plenty of chunky yeast particles floating throughout. Couldn't hold a head. Aroma was a blast of alcohol, toffee, caramel, and sealant.

Lots of dark fruit, licorice, pruno notes. Alcohol too hot to call it smooth, dark fruit too pronounced to not give it a hefty bitterness.

Would be nice to get some of that malt smoothness people talk about, all I got was a hot alcohol experience with lots of raisins, prunes and licorice. Pass.

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Photo of Fettpopps
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2.63/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Based on the reviews I'm starting to wonder if stores in NJ got a bad shipment.

A - Mine poured a more or a reddish brown/ light amber color and not the dark brown I would have expected from the style. The medium head had nice lacing and stuck around for a while.

S - The smell was sharp and tart. It was almost citrus like.

T- Very tart. There was little to no sweetness that I would associate with the style. I got some hop bitterness but without the malty flavor to balance it

M- Medium mouthfeel. The tartness lingered on the palate.

O - I ended up pouring it out about half way though. The tartness was overwhelming and out of character for a dopplebock. I will have to give this another shot later. My experience seems out of line with a lot of the other reviews I read. Hopefully just a bad bottle.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.68/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed on 5/30/2010. Bottle thanks to HonusWagner. Pours a dark brown with a small light tan head. Aroma of sweet malt, candi sugar. Flavor of sourness initially (a tart lactic swallow), sweet candi sugar, sweet malt. Lots of residual sugars in this one. Hmm, not really a fan of this one, it is way too sweet and doesn't have a strong malt backbone. Compared to other doppelbocks I have had, this is not one of the better ones...

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Photo of mikeg67
2.71/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle. Pours dark amber with a fluffy, tanned head. Aroma is of herbal hops, caramel and dark fruit. Medium body. Stale taste of sourdough prevails. Despite on there are plenty of nice notes of caramel, coffee, herbal hops and dark fruit the impression of the beer remains unpleasant. I hate when brewers do not put the best by date on bottles.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
2.85/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

500 ml swing-top bottle split and poured into a Sierra Nevada tulip. No date or info.

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for kicking the top100 night off with this!

A - No head, even for a tall pour, it's a mostly clear dark brown beer. Not bad in color but it's lack of head and lace is not a good sign so far.

S - No dopplebock nose in this brew at all. It's completely a Flanders Brown aroma; vinegar sourness and a crisp, lightly malty aroma with a lack of hops. No malty sweetness, only touches of coffee and roast come through, but there really isn't a malty profile. Raisin hints are in there too. It smells good, I'll give it that, but this doesn't smell anything like a dopplebock.

T - There's a better level of roasted coffee malting and sweet biscuit notes in the flavor but the vinegar sourness still overlaps it. Not as prominent as the nose, but it's still off. No sweet maltiness or bold malt profile, again, it's barely a dopplebock.

M - Medium-bodied and roasted with an acrid bitterness to the finish that mixes with the lightly tart aspect.

D - Not bad for drinkability but this is definitely not right. I don't know if it's infected, Todd talked about issues with the 12 oz bottles, but regardless, I'd love to try it fresh and clean soon.

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Photo of windigo32
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I got this bottle in trade. It's a 1 pint hinged stopper bottle.

A: There's just something about the way dark beers look that is very appealing. It pours a deep brown with an off-white head that stays on the surface. The bottle looks cool too.

S: The smell is nice. Caramelly, slight earthy leather tones.

T: I was expecting great things in this department from what I heard from others but was disappointed. There is a nice caramel undertone, but the prevailing taste I got was just bitterness. Oddly, its still not the worst tasting beer I've ever had.

M: Dark beers always feel good in the mouth. This one isnt super smooth, but the feel is good.

D: Frankly, this didnt make me want to go looking for more of this beer. Like many of the others I've had, it was an expansion of my taste base, but I would probably pass on it were it offered again.

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Photo of grumpy
2.9/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

WOW! And I don’t mean that in a good way. I am completely baffled by the nearly unanimous love of this beer. I have sampled it on two different occasions from the 1-liter bottle, at varying temperatures. Not only does this beer not satisfy my occasional craving for a Doppelbock, but I find it an average beer, at best, in every regard. I don’t know where to start, by I’ll try.

Appearance: Well, it’s arguably too dark for a Doppelbock, but it’s not unappealing in appearance. I think the previous reviews have addressed this category in detail.

Aroma: Malt, roastiness, a bit of fruit, and cream. Fairly pleasant.

Taste: I’m sorry, this beer just doesn’t do it for me. The roastiness is far too pronounced and detracts from the underlying sweet malt and cherry flavors. The hop balancing comes across as astringent and drying, and is hard to distinguish from the roast flavor. I would describe this beer as part Schwartzbier, part Porter, and part Brown Ale. It doesn’t deliver a lot of anything for my money. Totally lackluster. It doesn’t come across as a big beer, the alcohol is nearly imperceptible, and the flavors are all subdued. I have tried to set aside my expectations for a Doppelbock and just assess this beer on its own merits. That doesn’t help. It’s just an average beer.

Mouthfeel: Very thin – no sense that one is drinking a big beer. Perhaps a smidgen too much carbonation for the style.

Drinkability: One pour of this is sufficient. After that, I lose interest, and I don't have much to begin with.

So, now the quandary. Do I cellar my two remaining 1-liter bottles for a year or so, and give it another whirl, or do I put this beer on the trading block??

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Photo of kkipple
2.94/5  rDev -30%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

2006 vintage

As it happened, my 200th review and Christmas day happened to coincide, so I reached into the bowels of my fridge and liberated a special brew acquired in trade from a fellow BA member. (Thanks Grandq!) Figured a doppelbock was a good a style as any to celebrate this most auspicious of days.

The 500ml swingtop opens with a loud pop.
I dump the beer into a pretty Aventinus glass (the one with the bulbous top) and am rewarded with a glass full of tan foam. The sprightly 2 inch tall head leaps to the surface of the beer. Liberator itself is black looking from a distance, but held to the light you can see it's actually a very deep brown with red-rust highlights with active carbonation to aid the (now falling) head. I dump the last 200ml from the bottle into my glass and the head is reborn! Some quick sipping staves off an overflow. Bottom line: this is a pretty beer, but it may take you a while to pour.

All this time I'm smelling the beer, and am surprised by the hoppy and alcoholic smells coming my way. I figured this'd be a lot more malt-centric; but nay! I could almost mistake this smell for a barleywine or American Old Ale (think Old Foghorn). A lush, rich caramel smell is present but wrapped up in a large amount (for the style) of hop bitterness and fusel alcohol. Hmm... there are thankfully roasted malt notes and hints of chocolate, figs, mysterious "dark fruit" and maybe cherries... some unwelcome phenolic smells waft up. Perhaps this beer is hurt by not being fresh. It's complex, just out of balance.

The flavor mirrors the problems I had with the smell. The roasted malt is too prominent, and the astringent bitterness overpowers the sweetness and leaves a rather unpleasant flavor behind of burnt chocolate cake and over roasted coffee beans. It's too in your face for the style, which should lend itself to easy drinking and not sipping. In sum: intense burnt grain, bitter chocolate, higher alcohols, astringent bitterness, vague dark fruit and a lingering heavy burnt grain flavor just aren't what I expected, or desired.

The mouthfeel is the best thing going here, it's light bodied enough to drink (assuming you like the taste) and while highly carbonated, is tingly and fizzy on the tongue before revealing its creamy, full personality. I dig the mouthfeel, just wish I liked the beer...

Low points for drinkability 'cause I just am not a big fan. I want to revisit this fresher and compare notes. It's possible this beer just does not do well with age or that I got an off bottle. Judging by the stellar reviews here, I hate to disagree -- I wanted to like this brew, I really did. But in the end, even on Christmas, ya got to call 'em like you see 'em.

Anyone want to send me another bottle?

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Photo of Jersh67
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of DefenCorps
3/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Swingtop 500ml bottle into my Sam Smith imperial pint glass.

A: Despite a terribly weak pop, this one has a decent one-finger thick light brown head capping hazy red body. Some lacework as the head fizzles out rather quickly.

S: Mildly metallic, bready, caramel and as it warms up, some sour cherries are apparent. There is some funk that is clearly the infection i feared. Still smells interesting, though, nothing like a dopplebock, should.

T: Opens up with a curious mix of bread and sourness that's got the caramel and the fruit character from the dopplebock and the sourness and a rather strange funk that doesn't really go well with the rest of the beer. Strange, compelling and interesting, 500 ml is a bit much, though

M: Carbonation is solid and the body is still rather big, strange given the infection. The finish is sour and funky

D: Glad I got to try this, I'd probably give it another go 5 years from now to see what the infection has done to it - but not at the cost of a slot in my cellar

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Photo of smonice
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of davidwhatshisnam
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of LockeSD
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of PeteRiz
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of PatronWizard
3.02/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Hey look! It's the headless horsebeer! This puppy is strictly neck down. Blackest doppelbock possible. Why? Cause it's black.

Smells like a doppel though. Very faint odor.

Well, in five words or less: I don't like it. Pretty damn nasty actually. Smells OK, tastes less than OK, and feels like an old bottle of flat coke. Like the ones you get at 7-11 when the CO2 runs out. Coke syrup. Zero carbonation.

Oh well, I can't like 'em all. This one is not for me.

Overall: yuck

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Photo of Enola
3.03/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is a deep brown color with minimal head. The smell is liqorice, chocolate and smoke. The smokiness shows in the taste and there is a slight alcohol ting. The mouthfeel is smooth with the rich flavors giving this beer a nice aftertaste. The drinkability is good. A nice beer to sip on after a morning of fighting a brush fire.

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Photo of WhiteOak
3.03/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Deep mohogany-brown, nearly opaque, with a bright red edge in the light. Good light brown head.

S- Prunes, char, rust aromas.

T- Burnt coffee grounds, heavy roast, raisinated dark fruits. Sour finish with ashtray notes.

M, D- Medium+ in body, CO2 in balance, and the ABV was well-concealed.

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Photo of zac16125
3.05/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

500mL bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a very dark brown, almost but not quite black, with 1 fingers width of mocha head that is dense but dissipates quickly down to a thin film. Leaves no appreciable lacing.

S: Lots of sweet dark fruits on the nose, particularly fig and plum.

T: Interesting flavor profile. At first I really liked the flavors. There was a lot of dark fruit sweetness (fig) up front, with chocolate flavors followed by a roasted malt character and some hop bitterness on the back end. I thought it was quite complex and well balanced at the beginning. However, as I continued to drink, it really took a turn for the worse. The sweetness completely dominated and there was something about it that I found particularly unappealing to the point that I almost didn’t finish it (which I don’t think has ever happened to be during a beer tasting). I did finish it, but it left me feeling slightly nauseous. The only reason I’m not giving it a lower grade than I am is because it did start off quite nice, it just finished so poorly.

M/D: Smooth, pretty heavily carbonated, with a medium to heavy body. It does a good job of masking the ABV but the massive sweet malt character makes the drinkability quite low. I would not even consider having more than 1.

O: Overall, this certainly isn’t my favorite style, and I do tend to favor the ale styles over the lagers in general. That being said though, I have found a couple doppelbocks to be pretty damn good, much better than this one. Particularly I’ve found Ayinger Celebrator to be excellent, and since I had heard this one being compared to Celebrator, I was excited to try it. Needless to say it definitely let me down. I will not try this one again, and will probably completely avoid the style for a while.

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Photo of tjd112
3.09/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my first foray into the land of steady habits. The beer poured an almost black colour into my pintglass, lacing was minimal, but the offwhite head was good. Smells and tastes bready with a hint of malts, and the body is medium to heavy with a dry finish. I think Troegenator is still the best doppelbock in the northeast though, and I prob won't go out of my way to get this one again.

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Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock from Thomas Hooker Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 697 ratings